Archive for September, 2009

Happy banned book week!

Did you know that every year books are banned from schools and libraries?  Banned Book week celebrates intellectual freedom and the right we have to have access to all books–including ones that might be “objectionable” for whatever reason.  It also draws attention to the fact that even in this day and age books are banned and censored in communities across the United States.   Censorship is harmful and we have the right to access all opinions and ideas, not just the popular ones.

Fortunately, most challenged books are not banned thanks to the hard work of librarians, booksellers, teachers, and community members who work to make sure that everyone can read what they wish.

According to the American Library Association the top ten most challenged books for 2008 (out of 513) are:

1.  And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
      Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
      Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
3.  TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R(series), by Lauren Myracle
      Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
4.  Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
      Reasons:occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
5.  Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
      Reasons:occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
6.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
      Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
7.  Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
      Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
8.  Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,by Sarah S. Brannen
      Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
9.  The Kite Runner,by Khaled Hosseini
      Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
       Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

Here’s also a list of challenged and banned classics. How many of these have you read? How many of these do you own?

There are many ways to celebrate banned book week — go buy a banned book or three or check them out of the library, read them allowed to your family, co-workers, or whoever will listed, attend an event or reading (or plan one for next year), help your library make a display of challenged books, teachers can talk about censorship and have their students draw a picture of what book they would save if all the books were being burned and they could only save one (and why). There are many more ideas here from the good people over at Banned Books Week

Did you know The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells has been banned and challenged? What about Winnie-the-Poohby A. A. Milne?

What are your favorite banned books?

Exercise Your First Amendment Rights – Read a Banned Book!

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Winners and Friday Fun!

Happy Friday!

I actually managed to find 3 more art deco tiaras! YAY!  They are so much cuter than anything else I’ve found (any past winners want to send me a pic of them wearing theirs?  Lynn?  Deb?)

So the winner of this month’s tiaras is…

…drumroll please…

*~*~*Gwynlyn MacKenzie*~*~*


I think steampunk and think Jules Verne…

Congrats!  Please email me at suzanne lazear (@) hotmail so I can get you your tiara. 

Someone gave be this great linky for an anagram generator.  Maybe I’ll start writing under the name Lauren Zazen.  Go ahead and come up with a few alter egos…


Have a great weekend everyone!

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When you think of Steampunk, images of brass goggles, aviator caps, and pocket watches immediately spring to mind.

The question is, why?

Steampunk is a genre full of action, adventure, and innovention–what says that better than a pair of brass goggles?  They could be the goggles of an airpirate, plundering the open skies on his air ship, an explorer in her balloon, a car shark motoring to his next game, or of a mad scientist about to invent the next modern marvel or machine of mayhem. 

But why brass? 

Sure, there are other metals, but something about shiny brass invokes that Victorian feel…

Just like pocket watches, cogs, gears, and clock hands abound in Steampunk (they also make great jewelry).  It’s a very classic image of a bygone era of gentleman, of craftsmanship.  Since Steampunk is very rooted in the Victorian era, the pocket watch is an obvious accessory of choice (though there’s plenty of room for wrist-watches and time-keeping rayguns).  Of course, a pocket watch doesn’t just have to be a timekeeping device.  Perhaps it’s a communicator–or a time machine….
Aviator Cap from Clockwork Couture

Aviator Cap from Clockwork Couture

Don’t forget your leather aviator cap!  Since, in Steampunk, most things–even advanced technology–is made with Victorian materials and/or in the style/manner of the Victorians, your aviator and adventures wouldn’t ben wearing plastic crash helmets.  They go with a balloon, a hoverboard, a spaceship, or even a plain old automobile.  The aviator cap is another a symbol of action, adventure, and innovation.  It’s the sign of someone boldly going where no one has gone before, of defying convention, of following their dreams.

There are many other things that are quintessentially Steampunk, and there are plenty of reasons beyond mine why Brass goggles, Aviator caps, and pocket watches are a bit iconic.   I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.  As usual, one lucky poster will win a tiara!   The winner will be posted on Friday!

Have a great week!

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September 12, 2009 is Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day, brought to us byDresden Codak (who has some very interesting online comics.)

So wear that Victorian daydress or air-pirate costume to the mall or the grocery store–pretend to be amazed, or simply go about your business as if there’s nothing strange about it.

Or, walk up to random people, ask them the date, freeze, then sigh with relief and go, “great, there’s still time,” and run off.

Hand someone a random trinket and tell them that if they value humanity they’ll bury it in their backyard–today.

Wear a mash of clothing from the past couple of decades and pretend to not quite fit it or be able to quite use “modern” technology.

You could also simply choose to offer sanctuary to other time travelers by hanging the universal time traveler’s symbol in your window.


Whatever you do today…have fun! And if you missed it…just pretend to travel back in time so you don’t miss it.

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